PETALING JAYA: The government is exhorting Malaysians to buy local products as a way to revive the national economy amid global uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said Malaysian businesses needed support as the pandemic and movement control order (MCO) had a negative impact on the economy.
“The wholesale and retail trade index declined to negative 6.1% in March from 5.4% in February, ” he said.
The ministry’s “Buy Malaysia Campaign” was therefore aimed at reviving the economy by stimulating consumer spending and encouraging the consumption of local products, he said.
“There is a need to support Malaysian businesses, which also provide employment opportunities for the rakyat, ” he added.
Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee called upon Malaysians to continue supporting local farmers, fishermen and food producers.
“Malaysians can play their part by buying more locally produced agro-food products as more demand for these products will boost the local food producers’ morale.
“It will also motivate them to produce more supply, ensuring our food supply chain remains optimal even in times of crisis, ” he said.
While Malaysians owed a debt of gratitude to frontliners working around the clock against Covid-19, he said agriculture frontliners such as farmers, fishermen and food producers must also not be forgotten.
“They put themselves at risk so that we can have food on our table while we wait out this pandemic.
“It is important to acknowledge their contributions and their plight, ” he added.
Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng said a small shift of Malaysians’ preference towards local goods could translate into a huge and meaningful impact on the economy and help many families.
He said increased demand and consumption of local products could help local manufacturers, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to sustain their operation amid challenging times.
“Besides comprising 98.5% of total business establishments in our country, SMEs employ nearly two thirds of the overall workforce.
“As these producers survive the crisis, they could retain employees. Therefore, the risk of rising unemployment rate could be contained.
“Malaysians should start prioritising local brands so that we can collectively support the recovery of our domestic economy during and after Covid-19, ” he said.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri encouraged Malaysians to dive into domestic tourism to revive the sector, which had been hard-hit by international border closures.
She said the stimulus package rolled out by the government during the MCO period put money in people’s hands with the aim of encouraging consumer spending.
“When we spend, we can help our economy heal gradually. When we undertake local tourism activities, we can also inspire confidence in others to do the same.
“We had predicted that people would only get into local tourism activities in December but people have already started doing so.
“I would like to thank the rakyat who are helping to revive our economy via local tourism. Malaysia is a safe country to visit, ” she said.
She added that her ministry was looking at ways to identify and market untapped local tourism products to revive the tourism industry, which she described as “the fastest to be affected and the slowest to heal.
“We can’t stay silent, we have to find out what we can do to help the economy progress again, ” she said.
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